03 February 2022
A care leaver has shared her experience of being supported by the Government of Jersey to achieve her ambition of studying at university.
Ceira (20) has shared her experiences as a means of thanking the staff who have supported her through studying for A Levels while living in care, to studying Social Work at university.
In 2020, the Government of Jersey introduced a £1 million package of support for children and young people in care and for those – like Ceira – who are leaving care.
The package of care was designed to give looked-after children the same kind of support a parent would offer their child during the transition from childhood to adulthood.
This includes support with education training and employment, and financial support including funding for doctors' and dental fees, education and driving licences.
As part of this new package of support, every looked-after child aged 14 is allocated a Personal Advisor who can provide guidance and support up to the age of 25.
Ceira said: "Over the last three years I have progressed from a 17-year-old attempting her A- Levels, leaving care prematurely and living in a homeless shelter, struggling so much that I couldn't tolerate a lesson - to a university student, studying social work in Southampton, with straight A grades through her first semester.
"A credit to my own determination, the support of the Government of Jersey's Children Services and the Care Leavers Offer.
"Emotionally it was when I began getting handwritten cards, not a 'from Children Service' label. It's the hours they've listened to me cry down the phone. My Personal Advisor being person centered and as invested in my goals as me, the time the Director of Children's Social Care, Mark Owers, spent helping me prep for my university interviews.
"For me, their support meant the preservation of my future and the beginning of real recovery. It means that I can now, for the first time, say that I know my 'corporate parents' are proud of me. Without the Care Leavers Offer I'd have been stopped at the first hurdle, unable to even fund tuition fees. The care leavers offer didn't give me advantages, it gave me the beginning of equality."
Ceira had this message to care leavers. "Care leavers, you can do it! Voice your goals, it's not 'too ambitious'. You can, will, succeed."
More information about the support available for looked-after children, and care leavers is available on the Government of Jersey website.